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The Price of Migraines

By PAM BERNS
As reported in the July 3 issue of the medical journal Neurology, in a study conducted by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, in households with an annual income less than $22,500, migraines in teens (without a parental history of migraines) was 4.4 percent. Teens from families earning over $90,000, however, had a rate of 2.9 percent. While the study didn’t take into account depression, substance abuse or anxiety, the higher incidence seems to indicate, again, how the poor suffer more in our society. The study reports that approximately 6.3 percent of teens suffer with migraines sometime in the year, Caucasians report more migraines than African Americans, and more girls than boys suffer from migraines. What is missing is what impact suffering this unbelievable, blinding pain does to a person, despite his or her background. A sufferer literally has minutes to take to a bed and dark room and prepare to be totally incapacitated for a day. When this happens every month or every week, it can cripple studies and end promising careers. More research should be done about the heavy costs this illness causes in society. Maybe the poorest in our country who have had the misfortune of migraine headaches suffer financially because the frequent, severe pain has interfered with their promising futures. Are the poor receiving health care equivalent to the better-off in our society? I think we know better.

Published: July 18, 2007